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Coronavirus March 25, 2020: Perspective


A. News: As I write, US deaths from coronavirus: 809; total reported cases: 55,568

In Israel there are now 2,170 reported cases, and now 5 reported deaths.

The coronavirus pandemic is infecting, affecting, and altering our society. Most of us have never experienced anything like this. However, some perspective:

1. Influenza (the flu) -- in the five months from October 2019 through February 2020 -- 45 million Americans infected, 46,000 died, according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention -- Washington Post, March 10.

2. The seniors in our society may remember the polio outbreak. In the United States, the 1952 polio epidemic became the worst outbreak in the nation's history. Of the nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.

3. Smallpox -- In 18th-century Europe, it is estimated 400,000 people per year died from the disease, and one-third of the cases resulted in blindness. Smallpox is estimated to have killed up to 300 million people in the 20th century and around 500 million people in the last 100 years of its existence. As recently as 1967, 15 million cases occurred a year.

4. Bubonic Plague -- From 1347-1351, the bubonic (or Black or great) plague killed an estimated 75-200 million Europeans and Asians, an estimated 30-60% of Europe’s population.

5. One of our congregants shared this from a FaceBook post: "To put things in perspective for those of us who are feeling stir crazy already -- Anne Frank and 7 other people hid in a 450 sq. ft. attic for 761 days quietly trying to remain undiscovered to stay alive. We can all do our part to keep everyone safe and spend a few weeks at home."

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